RIM’s evolutionary OS, Phone Update
Research in Motion, the Canadian maker of BlackBerry smartphones, presented a demo of BlackBerry 6.0 OS at WES 2010. The new OS, according to RIM CEO Mike Lazaridis is “fresh, yet familiar, easy to use, yet powerful.” The new OS brings an updated user interface, with redesigned core applications, has multi-touch facility with a system-wide pinch-to-zoom, has universal search, a new media player, and a native app that pulls feeds from both RSS and the social media.
The new OS will be launched in the next calendar quarter. Some existing devices can also upgrade to 6.0 although the exact details are not yet known. Blackberry 6.0 also has a new web browser, which is capable of multiple sessions and tabbed browsing, and is based on the open source WebKit engine, which is used in iPhone, Android, and Symbian handsets.
The WebKit engine is capable of rendering HTML5, and CSS, and can be used to create applications and widgets for BlackBerry handsets.
Blackberry Bold 9650 and Blackberry pearl 3G
RIM announced two new handsets on Tuesday — the BlackBerry Bold 9650 and the BlackBerry Pearl 3G. RIM doesn’t like to play the spec-to-spec game against Android and iPhone offerings, which have higher resolution screens and faster processors. Compared to the iPhone 4G, whose specs have been leaked by Gizmodo, the difference is quite marked.
The Bold 9650 is the first Bold series handset for CDMA networks. It has a 3.2 MP camera, Wi-Fi, GPS, and Bluetooth, an integrated optical trackpad, QWERTY keyboard, and a 480W360 resolution display. The Pearl 3G is an update of the Pearl series, and touted as the smallest BlackBerry yet. The new Pearl series supports 802.11n, and is the first handset to incorporate it.
Sleek, small and fast, RIM considers it to be the sports car of BlackBerry smartphones. The phone will be available in two keyboard versions — the Pearl 9100 which has a 20-key condensed QWERTY keypad and the 9105 one with a traditional phone keyboard with 14 keys.
BlackBerry App World, RIM’s app marketplace for BlackBerry smartphones, was launched in March last year. It currently has 6,500 applications, and is available in six languages in 52 countries.
“We’re looking at a high level of integration and sophistication. Instead of hundreds of apps that you use once, we’re looking at creating ten applications you can’t live without,” said Mike Kirkup, director of Developer Relations, RIM, in an interview with ET.
While Blackberry’s App World is a channel for apps, it’s not the only channel. “There are non-RIM BlackBerry stores, and many ways to get in beside BlackBerry’s App World. This is a big benefit for developers,” said Mike. For example, BlackBerry apps can be downloaded from GetJar.com, which now has a solution for Reliance Communications.”
Updated mobile voice system
Blackberry also announced an update to the BlackBerry Mobile Voice System (MVS), which provides business users the ability to use their regular desk phone number and extension from their BlackBerry smartphone over cellular networks.
Expected to be available later this year, MVS version 5 will let employees make and receive enterprise calls on their BlackBerry smartphone over a Wi-Fi connection. “The interest for this solution has been incredible.
We’ve started taking steps to test MVS with a particular company in India,” said Frenny Bawa, vice-president, India, RIM.
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